I have missed more than my share of All-Star Games. Tuesday nights are difficult for me. It’s been five years since I’ve seen one.
So I decided to go back and see how the Padres have fared in the ASG in recent years. Those of you who watch the game every year already know how this goes.
If you read my columns earlier this week, you know I feel strongly that the Padres should switch their starting rotation to allow Tyson Ross to pitch in next Tuesday’s game. And after an evening of fairly in-depth research into San Diego’s All-Star history, I remain convinced that Tyson Ross needs to be allowed to play. Few teams have had as little impact on the All-Star Game in recent years as the Padres. It’s time to start reversing that trend.
All-Star Games – the past five years:
2009: The Padres are represented by three players, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and relievers Heath Bell and Trevor Hoffman. It is Hoffman’s seventh and final All-Star Game appearance. Gonzalez is making his second straight appearance, and is the first Padres position player to appear in multiple All-Star games in 10 years. Gonzalez is a reserve, and enters the game in the seventh inning as a defensive replacement. He gets an at-bat in the eighth, draws a walk, and ends up stranded at third. Hoffman pitches the sixth inning. He retires Andrew Jones on a fly ball, allows a single to Josh Hamilton, and induces Michael Young to hit into a 4-6-3 double play. Bell enters the game to pitch the eighth, and allows a run on two hits, with the main damage coming from a Curtis Granderson triple and a sac fly by Jones. Bell is charged with the loss in the game. As it turns out, this is, by far, the most action that Padres will see in the All-Star game for quite some time.
2010: For the second year in a row, the Padres have two All-Stars on the team, and they are repeats from the previous year – Gonzalez and Bell. Gonzalez is selected as a reserve. He is the second first baseman for the NL, entering into the game in the bottom of the fourth to replace Albert Pujols. Gonzalez goes 0-for-2, grounding out to second base and flying out to left. Bell comes in to face a single batter in the fifth inning. He allows Carl Crawford to steal second base, and then retires Torii Hunter on a fly ball. Bell has the most interesting All-Star moment for the Padres in some time when he does his trademark sprint in from the dugout to take the mound.
2011: Bell is the only Padre to be named to the All-Star squad. With the NL holding a 5-1 lead and nobody on base, Bell enters the game with two outs in the eighth inning. This time, he not only sprints in from the bullpen, but also does a popup slide onto the mound, a stunt that draws some criticism, but really exemplifies the have-fun-first attitude that was Bell’s trademark. He retires Jhonny Peralta on a popup to second base. He does not come back out to pitch in the ninth, leaving the game with one-third of an inning pitched.
2012: The Padres are represented by closer Huston Street, Street’s first (and to date, only) All-Star selection. It is the fifth time in a six-year span that the Padres closer is selected for the game. Street is one of two NL pitchers who do not get into the game.
2013: Everth Cabrera is selected as the Padres’ lone representative in the game. Cabrera is the first Padres shortstop in 21 years to be named an All-Star. He is leading the NL in steals at the time of the game. Cabrera is one of only three NL players who do not get into the game.
OK, so the recent history isn’t terribly impressive. How long has it been since Padres players have had an impact on the game?
- Last Padre to actually play in an All-Star Game: Heath Bell 2011
- Last Padre to get a hit in an All-Star Game: Adrian Gonzalez 2008
- Last Padre to drive in a run: Adrian Gonalez 2008
- Last Padres pitcher to start a game: Jake Peavy 2007
- Last Padres pitcher to get a decision: Chris Young 2007, Loss (Allowed inside-the-park home run to Ichiro Suzuki.)
- Last year two Padres position players played in the same game: 2001 Ryan Klesko and Phil Nevin
- Last Padre to be voted into the game by the fans: Tony Gwynn 1998 (16 years ago!)
- Last Padre to get an extra-base hit in an All-Star Game: Ken Caminiti 1996
- Last (and only) Padre to hit a home run in an All-Star Game: Ken Caminiti 1996
- Last Padre to get two hits in a single All-Star Game: Tony Gwynn 1994
- Last pitcher to pitch a 1-2-3 inning in an All-Star Game: Mark Davis 1989 (16 Padres pitchers have appeared in games since then.)
- Last Padres pitcher to earn a Win in an All-Star Game: LaMarr Hoyt 1985. (29 years ago.) Randy Jones also earned a Win in 1976.
- Last (and only) Padres pitcher to earn a Save in an All-Star Game: Goose Gossage 1984
OK, but the game itself isn’t the only event at the All-Star celebration. How about the…
Home Run Derby:
1992: The game was held in San Diego at the Murph. Padres Gary Sheffield and Fred McGriff appeared in the Derby, with Sheffield hitting 4 homers and McGriff 3. The NL lost 27-13, and only a young skinny speedster from the Pirates hit fewer homers than McGriff. His name was Barry Bonds.
2009: 17 years passed before the Padres had another player in the Home Run Derby. This time, it was hometown hero Adrian Gonzalez trying to mash every pitch out of the park. Gonzalez lost in the first round, hitting only two homers, the second worst showing in the contest, behind Brandon Inge, who was shut out. Two years later, Gonzalez redeemed himself, finishing second and putting on a heck of a battle with Robinson Cano, finally succumbing 12-11 in the final round, with a total of 31 bombs in the contest. At that point, however, Gonzalez was in a Red Sox uniform.
Clearly, the Padres record over their first 45 years of All-Star appearances has been, well, less than optimal.
So I ask you. Shouldn’t Tyson Ross get an opportunity to play in the game? Or should we go a third consecutive year without San Diego kids getting to see a Padre play in the midsummer classic? Who knows, maybe they’ll grow up to be Dodgers fans.